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Deputy Chief Paco Balderrama becomes first Hispanic promoted to the Oklahoma City police rank

An El Paso native who was an Oklahoma County jailer before becoming a police officer has become the first Hispanic to be promoted to the rank of deputy chief in Oklahoma City.

Deputy Chief Paco Balderrama, 42, said he had a lot of help from other law officers along the way.

Born in El Paso, Balderrama moved with his family to Oklahoma City in 1993 where he graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995 along with his twin brother, Beto Balderrama.

After high school graduation, both 18-year-old men joined the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department as detention officers. In 1999, both men decided to become police officers. Beto Balderrama is a captain on the Oklahoma City police force today.

"My brother and I really wanted to give back to our community and we really thought that law enforcement was the best way to do that," Paco Balderrama said. "Our ultimate goal was to become Oklahoma City police officers."

During a promotion ceremony at Oklahoma City police headquarters Thursday, both men and their families posed for photographs and thanks friends and co-workers.

"Here we are 20 years later and we've been so successful because of the help and support of many people in this building, and I look forward to the future and the next 20 years ahead of me and what good we can do down here and what progress we can make. I'm pretty excited about it," Balderrama said.

Balderrama is one of four deputy chiefs in Oklahoma City.

Chief Bill City said Balderrama became a leader in the department and community.

"We want to thank him for stepping up into such a leadership role for the police department. He has also done a lot working with the Latino community and helping us work through a lot of major issues over the years. It is my honor today to promote Paco Balderrama to the rank of deputy chief," Citty said.

Related Photos
<strong>Paco Balderrama stands with his wife, Kyla, and their sons, Jenson, 5, and Jude, 6, at the end of his promotion ceremony. The couple’s daughter, Hayden, 8, also attended. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Paco Balderrama stands with his wife, Kyla, and their sons, Jenson, 5, and Jude, 6, at the end of his promotion ceremony. The couple’s daughter, Hayden, 8, also attended. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0f7b41660ca6c37f1f579f85fef189d8.jpg" alt="Photo - Paco Balderrama stands with his wife, Kyla, and their sons, Jenson, 5, and Jude, 6, at the end of his promotion ceremony. The couple’s daughter, Hayden, 8, also attended. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] " title=" Paco Balderrama stands with his wife, Kyla, and their sons, Jenson, 5, and Jude, 6, at the end of his promotion ceremony. The couple’s daughter, Hayden, 8, also attended. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Paco Balderrama stands with his wife, Kyla, and their sons, Jenson, 5, and Jude, 6, at the end of his promotion ceremony. The couple’s daughter, Hayden, 8, also attended. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-382d6032306b17098927021eb475ed31.jpg" alt="Photo - During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the departmentþÄôs history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the þÄúRookie of the YearþÄù award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the departmentþÄôs history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the þÄúRookie of the YearþÄù award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the departmentþÄôs history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the þÄúRookie of the YearþÄù award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7c4763cd97a6c7a31f48e56dc0c83e18.jpg" alt="Photo - During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama, right, made history when Chief Bill Citty, left, formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama, right, made history when Chief Bill Citty, left, formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama, right, made history when Chief Bill Citty, left, formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-6406d4c5ad0b3a85e5b50b507148c525.jpg" alt="Photo - Paco Balderrama stands with his wife, Kyla, and their sons, Jenson, 5, and Jude, 6, at the end of his promotion ceremony. The couple's daughter, Hayden, 8, also attended, but she is not shown in this photo. During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="Paco Balderrama stands with his wife, Kyla, and their sons, Jenson, 5, and Jude, 6, at the end of his promotion ceremony. The couple's daughter, Hayden, 8, also attended, but she is not shown in this photo. During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>Paco Balderrama stands with his wife, Kyla, and their sons, Jenson, 5, and Jude, 6, at the end of his promotion ceremony. The couple's daughter, Hayden, 8, also attended, but she is not shown in this photo. During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-301d36f2b9267724e73350f15b5c6e31.jpg" alt="Photo - During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama, right, made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama, right, made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama, right, made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c202f3a4b5f4bfd049c8613ba29492f2.jpg" alt="Photo - During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b3c0f0f3782a6206e70b2d89ae4e7286.jpg" alt="Photo - During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-106e4c058253578ea247da0d12a96f53.jpg" alt="Photo - During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. " title="During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. "><figcaption>During a ceremony at Oklahoma City Police headquarters Thursday morning, April 11, 2019, Major Paco Balderrama made history when Chief Bill Citty formally promoted him to the rank of deputy chief, making him the first Hispanic to earn that rank in the department’s history. Balderrama is a 20-year veteran of the department and has held various assignments during his time with OCPD. In 2000, Balderrama received the “Rookie of the Year” award after his first full year as a police officer. He has lived in Oklahoma City since 1993 and graduated from U.S. Grant High School in 1995. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-21e089f8c5a0ff7c6a95e15af2d5f585.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty presents Paco Balderrama with pins and a desk sign Thursday. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] " title=" Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty presents Paco Balderrama with pins and a desk sign Thursday. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty presents Paco Balderrama with pins and a desk sign Thursday. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Robert Medley

Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma... Read more ›

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